Queensway Mid-Town Bridges

The provincial Ministry of Transportation is planning on replacing a number of bridges that go under the Queensway. The overall recommendations prepared by the consultants studying the design requirements of the bridges is to maintain the status quo. This would be a lost opportunity to re-visit the design of these underpasses to meet modern transportation needs and accommodate infrastructure requirements for all users including pedestrians, cyclists and motorized vehicles. For more insight on this potential opportunity, click here.

This weekend I travelled under the bridges in sequence as shown on the map below, beginning with the westernmost span along Holland Avenue. I’ve given them a grade on safety, from 0 (super dangerous, stay away) up to 5 (one that I would feel confident recommending to all riders within the 8-80 age range).

Holland Avenue is 4 lanes of speeding traffic heading under the bridge, or it’s crammed with commuter traffic during the week. Bike infrastructure would be a great asset along this strip, particularly for the kids attending Fisher Park School, located just on the north side of the bridge.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 1/5.

Holland Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Holland Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Holland Ave, from the south side of the Queensway
Holland Ave, from the south side of the Queensway

Parkdale Avenue is much like Holland Avenue in terms of traffic, but with more frantic distracted drivers jostling to get on and off Queensway ramps.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 1/5.

Parkdale Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Parkdale Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Parkdale Ave, from the south side of the Queensway
Parkdale Ave, from the south side of the Queensway

Fairmont Avenue is one of the safest roads under the Queensway. It connects residential areas on either side and has minimal traffic. There is usually ample space on the shoulders, as evidenced by the snow piled in the outside lanes. I imagine there is room to introduce bike lanes without having to increase the width of this bridge.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 3/5. Cleared bike lanes on either side would get it to 5/5.

Fairmont Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Fairmont Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Fairmont Ave, from the south side of the Queensway
Fairmont Ave, from the south side of the Queensway

Bayswater Avenue is also a pretty good street to ride along and under the Queensway. Similar to Fairmont it could use cleared bike lanes. It was the only one with lights on under the bridge.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 3/5.

Bayswater Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Bayswater Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Bayswater Ave, from the south side of the Queensway
Bayswater Ave, from the south side of the Queensway

The O-Train Bikepath is fantastic. Whoever has been clearing and salting the path in a very timely manner all winter deserves the OVO-Safety-Scale Gold Medal!
OVO-Safety-Scale : 5/5

O-Train Path, from the north side of the Queensway
O-Train Path, from the north side of the Queensway
O-Train Path, from the south side of the Queensway
O-Train Path, from the south side of the Queensway

Preston Street is the only road bridge that embraces the notion humans pass under it. There are the Little Italy signs at the entrances to the tunnel, painted murals, some streetscaping, and park benches. There are ample sidewalks, but no bike infrastructure, and the only potential remaining bit of shoulder that might possibly be used for bike lanes is taken up by street parking. So it’s nice on a quiet Sunday morning, but not so safe during the rest of the week when it becomes a busy roadway with no infrastructure for cyclists.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 2/5

Preston St, from the north side of the Queensway
Preston St, from the north side of the Queensway
Preston St, from the south side of the Queensway
Preston St, from the south side of the Queensway

Rochester Street has some shoulder space, and there are lights at both ends for the Queensway on & off ramps, but speedy traffic makes it unsafe.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 2/5

Rochester St, from the north side of the Queensway
Rochester St, from the north side of the Queensway
Rochester St, from the south side of the Queensway
Rochester St, from the south side of the Queensway

Booth Street is similar to Rochester but because it is a block away from the on and off ramps it seems less frantic. There is also some shoulder room heading under the bridge. On the north side a meridian has recently been added, which must help with traffic calming, but it takes away any room for cyclists. Heading south, one is nudged on to the sidewalk.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 3/5

Booth St, from the north side of the Queensway
Booth St, from the north side of the Queensway
Booth St, from the south side of the Queensway
Booth St, from the south side of the Queensway

Bronson Street heading under the Queensway is one of the most dangerous stretches to ride along in the city. It’s always filled with busy traffic, even on Sunday afternoons. It’s also dangerous for the many pedestrians with traffic rushing the lights to get across lanes heading on and off Queensway ramps.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 0/5

Bronson Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Bronson Ave, from the north side of the Queensway
Bronson Ave, from the south side of the Queensway
Bronson Ave, from the south side of the Queensway

Percy Street has a nice wide two way bike lane and traffic lights at either end to get across Chamberlain St on the south side and Catherine on the north. I also believe it is destined to be cleared next winter, so in anticipation of that, it gets:
OVO-Safety-Scale : 5/5

Percy St, from the north side of the Queensway
Percy St, from the north side of the Queensway
Percy St, from the south side of the Queensway.jpg
Percy St, from the south side of the Queensway.jpg

Bank Street is always busy. It really needs bike infrastructure as it’s an important link between residential communities and businesses on either side of the Queensway. The intersection at Catherine Street is particularly dangerous.
OVO-Safety-Scale : 1/5

Bank St, from the north side of the Queensway
Bank St, from the north side of the Queensway
Bank St, from the south side of the Queensway
Bank St, from the south side of the Queensway

O’Connor St is a one way heading south. It has a summer bike lane heading in that direction under the bridge, but getting there from downtown is dangerous. O’Connor is a speed strip for drivers rushing out of downtown towards the Queensway. Without a protected segregated bike lane I could not recommend biking along O’Connor, or across Catherine and the Queensway on ramp. Under the bridge, in the summer, gets a 4/5 but getting there merits a 0/5. There’s no bike lane for those heading north.

O'Connor, from north side of Queensway
O’Connor, from north side of Queensway
O'Connor, from the south side of the Queensway
O’Connor, from the south side of the Queensway

Et voila. Lot’s of room for improvement. The consultants are welcoming comments until March 13th.
comments sheet

Author: ottawavelo

bicycler

3 thoughts on “Queensway Mid-Town Bridges”

  1. Thanks for the great write-up on this! I’m writing a post on this project for the bikeottawa.ca (Citizens for Safe Cycling) website and wondering if we could use your map image with a credit and link to this post?

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